Global Exemplar Highlights – Companion Article

If this is your first time joining me here, welcome to the Exemplar Highlights Project! Otherwise, welcome back!

Before we get into this Wave 12 article, I wanted to remind everyone what you can expect. For more information on how to help your region, or join this project, just keep reading. I’d say skip to the final section, but that would be sad and you’d miss all the fun.

I have three main goals for this series:

1. Highlight the exemplary behaviors that judges around the world are exhibiting
2. Encourage others to start their own Highlights Blog in their area/Region
3. Give readers examples of and clues to what are considered “good” recognitions

So what makes a recognition “good”?

If you haven’t read it, Bryan Prillaman put out a wonderful guideline on how to write recognitions.  Bryan also just posted the first in a series of four posts that going in to a deeper explanation of each criteria, which you can find HERE. Consider re-reading these posts it before each wave, as it’s a great resource to keep you on track. The jist of the advice is:

  • Be Specific
  • Make Sure it’s Praiseworthy
  • Be Relevant to the Judge Program
  • Represent the Judge Community in a Positive Light

Another thing to note is that Wave 12 closes in just a few days! – Feb 12th at 23:59 PST (check judge apps for timing information for your Time Zone). If you haven’t done so already, submit your recognitions now. Well, go read Bryan’s articles, then come back and finish this article, then go submit your recognitions!

Now that we’ve covered/reviewed the basics, it’s time for some Global Exemplar Highlights! With Bryan’s post hot off the press, I’ve decided to turn this into a companion article, focusing on judges from around the world who are representing the Judge Program in a positive light. This means the recognitions that are accepted that they do not include any copy/paste templates, excessive in-jokes that make the recognition unrecognizable to the greater judge community, slurs/profanity, insults or divisive topics. Without the ability for simple edits, one inappropriate comment could lead to a recognition not being published, so I wanted to give you all some examples of what we mean when we say, “Does this shine a positive light on the judge community?”.

I wanted to make sure I found recognitions that could be used to celebrate both the nominee for doing something exemplary, and the writer of that nomination for being able to articulate their good deed. After each nomination, you’ll see my reasoning, as well as the occasional tip for improving your own nominations.

Let’s start off with Russell Deutsch’s (L2, USA – Northeast) recognition of Seren Mohn (L2, USA – Southwest)  in Wave 11:

Russell Deutsch (L2, USA-Northeast)
Seren Mohn (L2, USA-Southwest)

“Seren – there are few judges who have made such a constant and consistent effort to call for unity within the judge program as you. The statements you make on the forums often seek to create a better, more accepting environment for all judges. In addition to your work within the community, your presence on the tournament floor is outstanding. Having seen you maintain composure and deliver concise and correct rulings at many GPs with players that often question your status as a judge due to your stature and gender is beyond notable. Whenever a female player expresses an interest in becoming a judge I secretly harbor hopes that they turn out like you: Professional, courteous, concise, direct, and strong. Thank you for setting a supreme example for all judges and being a champion of feminism within the program.”

How does this fit the criteria?: 

Working to make our community better is an honorable mission. However, Russsell makes it clear that that is not all Seren is about. I love this nomination because it can be so easy to focus on the bad. Rather than call others out or go into exhaustive detail of every forum post or issue that’s come up, he keeps the spotlight where it should be, Seren.

Vinicius Quaiato’s (L3, RC Brazil) recognition of Federico Donner (L3, Hispanic America – South) in Wave 11:

Vinicius Quaiato (L3, RC Brazil)
Federico Donner (L3, HA-South)

“Fefi during GP São Paulo this year we had the opportunity to work together. Different teams (I was leading DC AM and you DC PM). That GP was a true caos during Saturday. Not only my plan went down the drain, but yours too. As an experienced L3, instead of taking over everything, you supported me and put yourself as a resource I could use to get things done. You discussed strategies with me, pointed ideas that could not work, and show what could work. Everything in a friendly way, as a mentor trying to help. Under the circumstances of that GP, showing such calm and williness to help (instead of controlling everything), were not only exemplar but a true lesson that I’ll carry on with me. ”

How does this fit the criteria?: 

When something out of the ordinary comes up at an event, it can be easy to push the blame onto Software, TOs, Judges, Players, you name it! Rather than complaining, these two got to work to develop a new plan. The dynamic between AM and PM Team Leads can occasionally be abrasive, so it’s great to see them focused on helping one another rather than trying to fight for control of a messy situation.

Chuanjie Seow’s (L2, Southeast Asia) recognition of Oli Bird (L3, Ireland) in Wave 11:

Chuanjie Seow (L2, Southeast Asia)
Oli Bird (L3, Ireland)

“Hello Oli! I was really fortunate to get to meet you where you were able to connect the loose dots within my mind when it came to my goals of progressing within the judge program. I am amazed by your mentorship techniques as I was not only able to critically assess myself but also open my eyes to what is my greatest strength. You steered me towards the correct direction by utilising my strengths and offered your personal experiences on how you overcame your deficiencies. You even synced me up to someone similar so that we can collectively brainstorm the myriad of ways I could use to better improve myself as a judge. I also love how you taught me to be a better leader. In the recent few events where I judged in, I used your method of getting everyone’s goals for the event and incorporate it to my judging matrix for the event. I must say it has worked tremendously with judges being able to work together more cohesively. Thank you so much for your mentorship of me to improve myself as a judge to grow my empathy and leadership skills despite my initial doubt of my own disorders being a complete block in my growth as a judge.”

How does this fit the criteria?: 

There are judges who have been at this for decades, and even after all those years, the best ones are constantly working to improve themselves. Oli showed great self-awareness, mentorship, and true friendship. Being able to acknowledge that no one is perfect while still working to be the best you can, is a great goal to have. Being able to help someone else get to that point is even more impressive.

Konrad Wieczorek’s (L2, Europe – Central) recognition of Michał Popielski (L1, Europe – Central) in Wave 11:

Konrad Wieczorek (L2, Europe – Central)
Michał Popielski (L1, Europe – Central)

“Michał, I was at first confused to find out you got accepted to judge GP Liverpool as a level 1 judge. I’ve never met you before the event, so I didn’t know what to expect, but you actually came through in a big way. I remember my first GP and how stressful it was and how much information I needed to absorb in a short amount of time. And I was a level 2 judge at that point! Can’t imagine how this event must have felt for you. But whatever the feeling was, you came out ready and willing to do a great job. You were very active on my Foiled Again! team and did an admirable job as our liaison to the scorekeeper. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were an experienced GP judge. I particularly liked how attentive you were when given instructions. You always made sure to know exactly what it was you needed to do and then you performed everything quickly and precisely, all the while maintaining a very joyful exterior. Even after running up and down the hall for the whole day, which had to be physically exhausting, you remained cheerful and smiling. I think you did a fantastic job, especially since this was your first ever event of this magnitude and I hope to see you at many others.”

How does this fit the criteria?: 

Not only does this recognition highlight a Level 1 getting on staff for his first Grand Prix, but this recognition showed that it was extremely well deserved. I think it’s incredibly important for the community at large to see that it’s possible to make a strong impact regardless of level. Showing that those opportunities do exist, and highlighting what motivated people can do with those opportunities, is certainly representing the judge program in a wonderful light.

Asuka Nagashima’s (L3, Japan) recognition of Mitsunori Makino (L3, RC Japan) in Wave 11:

Mitsunori Makino (L3, RC Japan)
Asuka Nagashima (L3, Japan)

” 牧野さんがエリアカンファレンス活動のひとつとして行っている「小規模なグループ活動の発足と浸透」に注目しています。これは同エリアのジャッジ同士がエリアカンファレンスで親睦を深めた上で同じ目的に向かって活動する機会を増やそうというもので、ジャッジが孤立しないようにする・身近に感じられる取り組みやすい活動でモチベーションを刺激するなど、様々な面で多くの人にメリットを与えてくれます。最近は「デッキ別質問集」の活動の成果物が日本フォーラムに投稿されるなど、成功の様子が目に見えやすい形で窺えます。もっとたくさんの人にこの活動が注目されるよう願いますとともに表彰致します。 ”

TRANSLATION: “Mr. Makino is focusing on “the establishment and penetration of small-scale group activities” as one of the area conference activities. This is to increase opportunities for judges in the same area to deepen friendship at the area conference and work towards the same purpose, so that the judges do not become isolated. By motivating them with easy-to-understand activities that are familiar, it stimulates and benefits many people in various ways. Recently, the results of his ‘Deck Questionnaire’ activity was posted on the Japan Forum, so you can see the state of success in a visible form. I hope that many more people will pay attention to this activity as well as awards.”

How does this fit the criteria?: 

Every Regional Coordinator wants to do their best to improve the skills, knowledge, and relationships within their community. Many remote judges can feel isolated and it’s easy to give up on becoming connected with the program outside of your local area. I really like that this recognition shows a focus on smaller activities where the experience and feedback can be personalized to the group at hand. Not only does this show the work Makino-san is doing for his community, but it also shows his willingness to share that work with the global judge community.

Fabio Pierucci’s (L2, Italy) recognition of Nuno Falcao e Cunha (L2, Iberia) in Wave 11:

Fabio Pierucci (L2, Italy)
Nuno Falcao e Cunha (L2, Iberia)

“Nuno, during GP Birmingham 2017 we held an investigation between an Italian and Portuguese player. Communication barriers in international environments are part of the game, your commitment in involving other Judges and helping players in such situations demonstrates a deep understanding of the context. Your focus on customer service and player experience allowed to handle everything in a timely manner, with actions that positively impacted on people’s lives. Teamwork, awareness and proactivity are among the key characteristics of an outstanding Judge, and make you an example to inspire others. Thank you, keep up the good work!”

How does this fit the criteria?: 

Investigations are never simple. Add to that the need for a translator, and situations can get sticky very quickly. In those times, it easy to try to push though, hoping that you’ve done or said enough that your ruling eventually makes sense and the players can go on with their games. However, knowing when to involve others shows great self-evaluation skills. Not only did this mean the judges could feel good about the outcome of the investigation, but those players got to feel confident that their concerns were heard and understood.

Jacob Milicic’s (L2, USA – North) recognition of Angela Aliff (L1, USA – Midatlantic) in Wave 11:

Jacob Milicic (L2, USA – North)
Angela Aliff (L1, USA – Midatlantic)

“Recently I worked with you on a piece for The Feedback Loop on Identity Triggers. Not only was the subject matter complex, but it presented a difficult editing challenge above and beyond what I normally give you with my writing. Nevertheless you persevered, providing many hours worth of collaboration and ultimately transforming the piece into one I am proud to associate with my name. I do not think many are aware of precisely how much you do or what it means when a post has the tag “Edited by Angela Aliff.” The value you provide these additions to the body of knowledge in the judge program is irreplaceable. Thank you.”

How does this fit the criteria?: 

I think that this recognition represents the judge program in a good light for a number or reasons. To begin, it not only recognizes an L1 for doing great work, but actually goes one step above to recognize that Level 1 judge for helping a higher level judge. Second, it shows a level of commitment to the program/project that is impressive regardless of level. And finally, Angela is a gem and anyone who has ever worked with her can tell you how delightful she is. I can’t think of a better recognition to end with.

Want to help?

Nicolette Apraez (L2, Georgia)
Nicolette Apraez (L3, RC USA-SE)
  • Submit Exemplar Recognitions! (Don’t forget the wave closes Feb 12th!)
  • Ask your local blog/poster if they need any additional help! (Daily posts can be very hard to keep up on and having another person to split responsibility means they won’t have to worry about finding a way to post while they are flying to a foreign Grand Prix or chaperoning their son’s school dance.
  • Don’t have a local project? START ONE! Many regions use FB, Slack, or have a community blog. Not sure where to start? Feel free to contact me for help. Below you can find a list of the current regional highlights projects we are aware of. Did we miss your blog? Let me and let me know so we can add you to our record for future posts!
  • Spoiler Alert! I do not speak every language on Earth. Since my goal is to highlight judges from around the world, I could certainly use some help! This might mean picking out or helping to translate recognitions that are not in English, contacting a nominating judge for additional information about a particularly interesting or positive nomination, or simply letting me bounce ideas off you from time to time!

List of Exemplar Highlights Projects:

Area Lead Link to Blog
Australia Gareth Pye  Video Blog/Podcast Chatter of Judges
BeNeLux Jonas Drieghe and Jona Bemindt
Brazil Eder Carvalho and Nicolau Maldonado
Europe – East Vladimir Trajcevski
Europe – North Lars Harald Nordli
France Emmanuel Gutierrez Available on the French Forums
German Speaking Countries Rene Oberweger
USA – Central Nick Gajary Recognitions on Facebook / Slack
USA – Mid Atlantic Erik Aliff Available on Slack